May 262014

Memorial Day freedomBeautiful and clear blue sky this morning. Birds singing. Very quiet. I’ve got a long list of to-do’s today, but it’s time to reflect a bit. It is so easy for us to take our freedom for granted. Unlike millions around the globe, I am free to work at a job I love. I am free to choose the size of my family. I am free to travel. I am free to speak about what I believe. I am free to openly worship my God in my choice of method and time.

Today, I revel in that freedom. Today I remember the heartbreaking truth. Someone had to die for me to feel that freedom. How many have died? I don’t know. Many. Freedom is very expensive. It exacts a horrible price.

It is easier to remember those who died overseas, battling an identified foe, in a famous place and time.  But that’s not enough. Remember those who will die training HARD this year to be ready. Do you think that pilots are close air support experts by spending their time cruising at 30,000 feet?  Do you think someone learns HALO online? Freedom is bought, and kept…. with blood.

While I celebrate my physical freedom, I celebrate another kind. My freedom from the penalty of my sin. I am free to do good today, not to earn my salvation, but simply because it makes my heavenly Father happy. I am free to be confident in where I am going someday because Jesus fought and died for it so many years ago. Freedom is not free. It is horribly expensive. The price is shockingly high.

My freedom as an American is measured by the lives of those who bled and died for it and those who will continue to do so even now. My freedom in Christ is measured by  the One who bled and died for it. Just One, and just once. Jesus.


May 172014

purposeDidn’t sleep much this week. That’s not normal for me. Usually I am asleep within minutes each night. I might wake up once or twice, hear an unfamiliar noise, categorize it or investigate it, go back to sleep.  But night after night this week, I saw each hour several times on my watch or phone.  This morning, up at three, stewing and stirring. The struggle and strain of the past week- to what purpose

Internalizing work stress is not unfamiliar for many of us,whether in leadership or not. However, I think the strain of struggling staff, reckoning with spreading responsibilities,  accepting ambiguous accountability or purpose, these things started taking their toll.

I felt myself wanting to push God- “I’m needing to do that?……Seriously?”

Moses had spent the last forty years taking an advances course of study in humility, trust, faith, listening. And yet when God came to him with is graduation assignment, carrying His message of liberation to a downtrodden and enslaved people, his response was, “You want me to do that?….seriously?”

Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”

“A staff,” he replied.

The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.”

Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand.  “This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.” Exodus 4 NIV.

“What is in your hand?” God says to me. “I’ve given you talents and passions. I’ve given you My power to use them for good, for the benefit of My people all around you who are depending on you to do just that.”

What is in your hand? Do you have the ability to make sense of endless columns of data? Do you have the gift of putting hurting patients at ease while you serve them? Have you been given the joy of inspiring and uplifting those serving next to you?

God has a specific purpose for you. He has prepared you in a very unique way to face today. There are  those around you who are, knowingly or unknowingly, waiting for you. “Waiting for me to do what?” you might ask.

Waiting for you to willingly throw what’s in your hand into the life in front of you! Take the raw materials of your talents and passions and willingly pitch them forward, trusting God to transform them, using them for a purpose that only He can see.

What is in your hand?


May 112014

Bob MacLaffertyI was blessed last week with the opportunity to preach. I shared the story of Hosea where God asks him to marry someone who would be unfaithful to him. After leaving him and their three children for a wayward lifestyle, she finds herself sold into slavery. Hosea buys her back and takes her home to be his wife.

This story is God’s love in action. Wholly unconditional love. Hating the bad choices, loving the person. Underlining the eternal value of one.

Since then, I’ve been thinking- what truth does this story have for the workplace? How does it apply to relationships on the job? There has to be a lesson in there somewhere, doesn’t there?

Never fear, I think there is. I find that the stories shared in the Bible powerfully teach truths about God, His relationship to us, and how He saves us. Often, I also find applications for human-to-human relationships, how we interact with each other.

A hospital laboratory is a busy, high stress environment. There’s constant opportunity for conflict, misunderstanding and critical behavior. Relationships become strained as people feel under attack or under-valued.

Often, we are so “baby with the bathwater” focused. We can’t seem to separate the actions from the actor, the deeds from the doer. How often do we start sentences with “You are so…” or “I’m mad at you…” Or even worse, “She is such a…” or “He is totally…” In every workplace, every day, we efficiently tear each other down and damage their feeling of value and purpose.

Like a deer caught in the headlights, a coworker stands with mouth hanging open, hearing a personal attack about something she’s never thought. We freely attack each other’s appearance, character and motives, often with disastrous results.

As a leader, it is part of my role to counsel coworkers when there are opportunities for growth and improvement. It’s so easy to make statements that cut- “You are so lazy. You are careless. You embarrass me. You are a liar.”

How much better would it be if we followed God’s example when He hates the sin, loves the sinner. What if we found ways to place high value on the people within our circles at work, leaving the character assassination behind?

Notice to all my laboratorians, I may show  this imperfectly and fail regularly. However, know that I value and appreciate you as part of the family at work. You have been gifted with a unique blend of talents and passions that is true of no other. You are a critical and special part of the whole! I love how all of you can work together, providing excellent care and caring for others. I promise to separate the actions needing guidance from your value as a person. Even when I fail, know that this is my goal and intention.

Father thank You for providing such a game-changing example for me. Give me the strength and the wisdom to follow.

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